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Fire Ratings Explained

Passive Fire Protection


When it comes to fire protection, every risk must be considered to ensure that loss of life and loss of property are kept to a minimum.

In setting standards for fire protection there are two key measures of fire testing. These measures are concerned with;

  1. Fire Resistance
  2. Reaction to Fire and structural integrity


Fire Resistance (Retardant) is the measurement of the ability of a material to resist or prevent the passage of fire from one area to another. 


Reaction to fire is the measurement of how a material will contribute to the fire being able to develop.


Fire Resistance Tests

The test method used to assess the effectiveness of Flame Retardant products is British Standard BS476, Part 6&7 (1989) and is used to classify a material in terms of "Spread of Flame". This rating is measured in two classifications: Class 0 and Class 1 Spread of Flame. These two categories are now being replaced with a new internationally recognised test, known as an SBI Rating.

Class 0 is a low surface spread of flame and the highest achievable result. This measure is usually applied to fire protection performance of walls and ceilings.

(An untreated wooden panelled wall for example would have no resistance to the spread of flame across its surface and cause the fire to spread into the rest of the building.)


Testing the Reaction to Fire

The test method measures the ability of a material (Intumescent) to prevent the penetration of fire through a structure (for example doors or floor joists that bear the overall floor load) to maintain its structural integrity.


The test is run in accordance with BS 476 Parts 20-23 (1989) and components are given classifications with specific periods of time achievements, such as 30 or 60 minutes integrity..

Typically, coatings and building components use intumescent materials to meet these standards.


New European Standards

The British standards have been superseded by the new European standard EN13501 Parts 13823 (2002) single burn test (SBI) and EN11925-2 (2002) ignitability.

Our Envirograf products have been tested to this new standard with the resulting highest classification A1-B/S1/d) (where the S1 classification indicates minimal smoke emission on a scale of S1 to S9, where S9 is the highest smoke emission).


The importance of fire stopping products.

While many people are aware of the importance of fire barriers in preventing or delaying the spread of fire, they do not always consider the effects of breaching the fire barrier by allowing for example electrical, heating, ventilation or plumbing services to pass through.


That is why the range of Intumescent fire stopping products has been developed to safeguard the integrity of the fire barrier whether they are ceilings, floors or walls.

In addition, other fire protection products are designed to protect a structure or building component so that it can maintain its structural performance in a fire (e.g. fire doors or load bearing steelwork).


Choosing the right product is therefore essential, for example, seals must have the same level of fire protection (or rating) as the barriers they are helping to seal.

A ceiling with a fire protection rating of 60 minutes must have a seal with a rating of 60 minutes to maintain its integrity.


Also it is possible by using Intumescent materials, to upgrade existing components such as doors to meet the fire protection standards normally applied to factory produced fire doors.


For more information or for advice on a particular project, please call us - we are happy to help.


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